DEAR JERRY: I realize opinions differ on which early recordings are rock and roll, and which are pure pop music. Still, I do value your take on such matters.
What then is your pick as the last week the nation's entire Top 10 was all pop music, with nothing reasonably considered rock and roll?
Also, when did the Top 10 contain nothing but rock and roll hits, without any entry of the purely pop variety?
I find this topic not only interesting, but one I don't think you've ever addressed.
Elroy Ridgway, Terre Haute, Ind.
DEAR ELROY: Definitely two previously unasked questions.
The last all-pop Top 10, with nary a title to be challenged, is exactly 55 years ago, the last week of September 1954.
Though the chart positions vary slightly, both Cash Box and Billboard were mostly in agreement on which were the Top 10 tunes that week. These 11 titles, pretty much in this order, accounted for each magazine's Top 10:
1. “Hey There” (Rosemary Clooney); 2. “Sh-Boom” (Crew-Cuts); 3. “Skokiaan” (Ralph Marterie and Four Lads); 4. “This Ole House” (Rosemary Clooney); 5. “The Little Shoemaker” (Gaylords); 6. “I Need You Now” (Eddie Fisher); 7. “The High and the Mighty” (Victor Young and His Orchestra); 8. “In the Chapel in the Moonlight” (Kitty Kallen); 9. “Little Things Mean a Lot” (Kitty Kallen); 10 (CB). “If I Give My Heart to You” (Doris Day); or 10 (BB). “Hold My Hand” (Don Cornell).
Lurking just outside and ready to jump into the Top 10 on both charts was Rock Era classic “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” by Bill Haley and His Comets.
Part two of the challenge is not nearly as cut and dry, simply because the line between pop and rock ballads became much less definable in the later years.
Since any answer will be subjective to a point, I will support my choice by adding this guideline: any song that made the Top Pop (a.k.a. Easy Listening or Middle-of-the-Road) charts is not eligible for the all-rock Top 10.
The week of this unusual gathering at the top came exactly 10 years after the all-pop Top 10, the last week of September 1964:
1. “Oh, Pretty Woman” (Roy Orbison and the Candy Men); 2. “Bread and Butter” (Newbeats); 3. “The House of the Rising Sun” (Animals); 4. “G.T.O.” (Ronny and the Daytonas); 5. “Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)” (Shangri-Las); 6. “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” (Manfred Mann); 7. “Where Did Our Love Go” (Supremes); 8. “Dancing in the Street” (Martha and the Vandellas); 9. “It Hurts to Be in Love” (Gene Pitney); 10. “Save It for Me” (4 Seasons).
Again, chart positions vary slightly, but Cash Box and Billboard agree completely on these being the Top 10 hits.
Your question asks only about the Top 10; however, the next three tunes also qualify:
11. “Haunted House” (Jumpin' Gene Simmons); 12. “Maybelline” (Johnny Rivers); 13. “Baby I Need Your Loving” (Four Tops).
The following two do put an end to the rock list: 14. “We'll Sing in the Sunshine” (Gale Garnett) and 15. “Everybody Loves Somebody” (Dean Martin).
DEAR JERRY: From your archives I discovered Dolores Erickson is the girl on the cover of Herb Alpert's “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” album.
What I cannot find anywhere is the name of the leggy flight attendant serving Alpert a drink, while sitting on the wing of a biplane, on “Going Places.”
Who is this dish?
Mary Sterling, Austin, Texas
DEAR MARY: This model never received the publicity Erickson did, probably because “Going Places” came out right after “Whipped Cream,” a tough act for any model to follow.
Herb's label name, A&M, stands for Alpert and (Jerry) Moss, and, according to Dolores Erickson, the eye-catching attendant serving Alpert is another Moss Sandra, then the wife of Jerry.
IZ ZAT SO? In recent years, most of the best-selling hits are some form of modern rock or urban sounds. Still, something from another genre occasionally sneaks into the Top 10.
This week's stray in the Top 10 herd is country singer Taylor Swift, with “You Belong with Me.”
It is also the only one of the bunch I could suffer through long enough to be categorized.